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Copyright Drama Reaches 3D Printing World

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the can't-use-that-object dept.

Printer 258

jfruh writes "Stratasys, one of the world's biggest 3D printer manufacturers, routinely uses 3D-printed objects as displays for its booths at trade shows. The problem: It's been using objects designed by popular designer Asher Nahmias, whose creations are licensed under a noncommercial Creative Commons license — and he says Stratasys's use violates the licensing terms. This is just one example of how the nascent 3D printing industry is having to grapple with the IP implications of creating physical objects out of downloadable designs. Another important problem: IP law distinguishes between purely decorative and useful objects, but how should the digital files that provide a design for those objects be treated?" The models are copyrighted and licensed NC, but what about the resulting object? Precedent seems to imply that the resulting object cannot be controlled (e.g. the output of a GPLed program is not GPLed, so why should executing a program on a 3D printer be any different?).

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Like source code (2)

frup (998325) | about a year ago | (#44358095)

The cad files or what ever they are to the object as source code is to a binary.

Re:Like source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358295)

What is the object - does the object itself have sufficient originality to be copyrightable? For at least some of Nahmias's stuff, it certainly does. If we were just talking about prints of some gears and wheels, then the g-code or whatever is copyrightable, but the resulting object is not.

Re:Like source code (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#44358367)

Even if it's original and creative, the utility doctrine still applies to sculptural works: only the non-useful portions are copyrightable, and that's only if they're separable from the useful portions. If the gear had a decorative pattern on the side, the pattern might be protectable, but not the gear.

Re:Like source code (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358435)

"Even if it's original and creative, the utility doctrine still applies to sculptural works: only the non-useful portions are copyrightable, and that's only if they're separable from the useful portions. If the gear had a decorative pattern on the side, the pattern might be protectable, but not the gear."

An object made from a CAD drawing (or 3D printer instructions, which are, by long precedent, legally exactly the same thing) are not "sculptural works". They are parts made from instructions.

You can make a set of instructions to get a CNC machine to carve out a sculptural work, too. If you made the instructions, fine. Copyright them. If you created a "sculpture" from them, copyright or get a design patent for that, too. But the instructions are completely different things, and subject to completely different laws, from the finished object. And there is no need for it to be any other way.

There is nothing new here.

Re:Like source code (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358447)

To clarify:

The instructions (or CAD drawing) are copyrightable. If the finished object is considered a work of art, it is also copywritable (but separately from the CAD or instruction file). If the final object is an object of utility, it might get a utility or design patent.

But those are all separate things. I have seen here on Slashdot a lot of people confusing them. There is no need to confuse them, or to pass new laws, as we have had this capability, in somewhat different forms, for hundreds of years. We have already had all the necessary lawsuits and court cases to establish perfectly good law and precedent for these activities.

Re:Like source code (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#44358547)

An object made from a CAD drawing (or 3D printer instructions, which are, by long precedent, legally exactly the same thing) are not "sculptural works". They are parts made from instructions.

If its a tangible, three dimensional object, in which the allegedly copyrightable aspects of it are embodied in the shape of its overall physical form, it's got to be either a sculptural or architectural work. Since most people aren't printing houses or other buildings yet, it's not likely to be the latter. This means that the printed output must be a sculptural work.

Making a copy of the plans may be prohibited, but there's no grounds in copyright law alone to prohibit their use, so long as the output is not copyrightable, due to, for example, the utility doctrine as applied to sculptural works.

Re:Like source code (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358681)

"If its a tangible, three dimensional object, in which the allegedly copyrightable aspects of it are embodied in the shape of its overall physical form, it's got to be either a sculptural or architectural work"

Not at all.

People have been making "written" instructions for CNC machines for many years, CAD drawings (which are legally the same thing) for many more years, blueprints for machine parts for many more years, player piano rolls for many years before that, and punch cards for looms for hundreds of years. (Machine instructions in these forms are considered copyrightable WRITTEN works.) But that doesn't make a milled steel machine part either architecture or art. Or a rug, for that mater. It is arguable that some rugs are art, but many aren't.

My point though is that generally, an end physical product is legally separate from the instructions for making it.

Re:Like source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358841)

it's either a deriviative work of the creative original or it ain't.
  end of story.

Re:Like source code (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358411)

"The cad files or what ever they are to the object as source code is to a binary."

Quite. 3D printer instructions are nothing more than a form of CAD file, which is a copywritable, WRITTEN work.

Items printed are no more than any other physical object made from a CAD drawing. You can't copyright the actual part (but you can get a design patent if it applies).

There is nothing new here.

Contract for copyrighted work, freedom (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44358489)

We can make a deal saying "I'll give you a hamburger if you agree to wash the dishes".
Can we not also make a deal saying "I'll give you my designs if you agree not to sell the objects I designed"?

I'd think that in a free society we'd be allowed to make that deal.
The designer believes that's the deal he made by applying the non-commercial CCL to the designs.

Re:Contract for copyrighted work, freedom (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358541)

Can we not also make a deal saying "I'll give you my designs if you agree not to sell the objects I designed"?

Probably, but that's not the kind of situation I was directly addressing.

A deal like that is a contract, as long as there is consideration on BOTH sides... something a lot of people tend to forget. I'm not saying there isn't any here, I'm just reminding that it is necessary. Okay. So as long as there is consideration and the agreement does not otherwise violate law, it's a contract.

But contracts have nothing to do with copyright law. (Except that First Sale Doctrine says there are certain kinds of contracts you can't make... and I don't think that applies here.) But what I was referring to was copyright law. The fact that an artist might enforce copyright on his drawing does not mean he can automatically enforce it on a physical object made from that drawing. By law they are two different things.

But again, that's aside from any agreement. I don't know of any reason that agreement would not be valid, if indeed that is the agreement that was made.

connection - copyright permission is contract (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44358757)

I believe you're right. An important connection, I think, is that copyright law says they can't download the design at all, until they get permission. They get permission through the contract, aka licence. So they don't legally have the design at all unless they have it by contract.

* recognizing that a) courts have a BROAD definition of "exchange of consideration", and have ruled that a promise to do or not do something is consideration and b) clearly the claimant provided consideration. You cannot often invalidate a contract by saying "I didn't pay him enough". Thus, the CCL agreement for the design is probably a contract.

I assume meeting of the minds,license should be cl (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44358831)

Ps - I realize that when I say the license is the contract, I'm assuming meeting of the minds. The license contract should be clear about printed renditions, so both parties know what they are agreeing to.

Re:connection - copyright permission is contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358837)

>is that copyright law says they can't download the design at all,
Incorrect. Absolutely, positively, RIAA-like bullshit. Copyright law does not and never has said what you may receive. It only says what you may give away. You can download movies all day long. If you never upload any part of that film, then you haven't touched copyright law. The people you got it from might have busted it, but not you.

Please, go learn a little bit about copyright before you hurt yourself.

How is this different from a carving? (5, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#44358099)

If someone put up NC licensed instructions for making a one of these designs, and I carved one out of a block of wood. Would I still be violating the terms?

Re:How is this different from a carving? (5, Informative)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44358257)

only if you could make an exact replica with your skill and try to sell it. if you try to sell it as the original, it would be forgery. if you try to sell it as your own it would be copyright infringement

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44358273)

So the issue is the act of some kind of Barter? What if there was no Barter?

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year ago | (#44358423)

Then it would be as if you recorded a song and I decided to use it, without your consent, for my company's new ad campaign. That's the closest analogue I can think of to this situation.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44358793)

A recent printing of the sheet music for Beethoven's 5th can't be copied or distributed without permission, presuming the printed work is copyrighted. However, the person that owns the copyright for the sheet music doesn't own the assembly of the notes. That belonged to Beethoven until the copyright ran out (pre-Mickey, it'll never happen again).

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358777)

From a brief skimming of TFA and some links, I think the license in question is CC BY-NC. From the full legal text of CC BY-NC 3.0 [creativecommons.org] :
"You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. The exchange of the Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing or otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no payment of any monetary compensation in connection with the exchange of copyrighted works."
So, barter is okay. Selling a copy, even in another medium (e.g. it's a copyright violation to produce a play based on a copyrighted book) is not. "Directed toward commercial advantage" reads, to me, like, "using as a marketing gimmick," which is how TFS characterizes the situation.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44358301)

only if you could make an exact replica with your skill and try to sell it. if you try to sell it as the original, it would be forgery. if you try to sell it as your own it would be copyright infringement

How about if I printed an object, then died and didn't leave my heirs any instruction on disposition of the object and they sold it at my estate sale -- ?

The law isn't a moron (3, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44358359)

You know the difference between commercially manufacturing a product and an estate sale.
So does the law. An estate sale is not commercial use.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (3, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#44358307)

Yeah, you probably would.

Think if you were handy with a paint brush and drew Disney's copyrighted characters on a T-shirt and tried to sell them, I bet you will receive a letter from a Disney lawyer.

I am aware of one person who was a Disney fan and drew Lion King characters on her own shirt - no money or sales involved - and she was denied admission to Disneyland on the basis of what she had drawn on her own shirt with her own hand for her own enjoyment. ( It was damn good work if I say so myself - not offensive at all ). Meanwhile kids were getting into the park wearing all sorts of offensive shirts...

I do not know if you were drawing a lion, at what point does the lion become Simba?

Re:How is this different from a carving? (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44358377)

At the point you decide you want to rip off someone else's movie but don't want to pay for it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimba_the_White_Lion [wikipedia.org]

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#44358613)

Interesting.... Here's a lot of pics concerning Kimba, a lot of which look like a lot of cross-influencing between Osama Tezuku's (Kimba) and Disney - obviously rendered by additional artists. While I believe Disney's image of Simba is significantly different from Tezuku's image of Kimba, the blending of elements of both by other artists yields a spectrum of similarities to both.

If I were a juror, I would be very hard pressed to define a line between what does and what does not constitute an infringement - as there is such a gradual progression of similarity. One could get very persnickety on why one image violates copyright, but a very similar image does not.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=639&q=kimba+the+white+lion&oq=kimba+&gs_l=img.1.0.0l10.2864.4426.0.7743.6.6.0.0.0.0.101.548.4j2.6.0....0...1ac.1.21.img.DgZDU3joRhk [google.com]

Which ones would you pick if you had to make a decision?

Mea Culpa.. (1)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#44358629)

Sorry... my memory does not work nearly as well as the cut and paste buffer which had the URL in it. Did I ever botch a name... Osamu Tezuka.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44358729)

Personally, I tend to lean towards allowing the freedom to reinterpret and reinvent. So I don't have a big problem with what Disney did there in and of itself. However, with that said, Disney has been very aggressive in going after copyright and trademark infringements, making them quite hypocritical. Also, as copyright and trademarks now stand, Disney is unable to acknowledge the influence of the earlier work since that could place them in a difficult legal position.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358463)

"Think if you were handy with a paint brush and drew Disney's copyrighted characters on a T-shirt and tried to sell them, I bet you will receive a letter from a Disney lawyer."

Disney is probably the worst possible example you could use here. They were instrumental in getting the unreasonable extension of copyrights passed, and even then don't follow the laws they helped establish.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44358355)

Yes, you would. The difference hear is that 3D printing opens up a whole market for these devices where only a few people can or willing to carve stuff out of wood. Those that do are low enough to fly under the radar sort of speak. So it's not an issue now.

Re:How is this different from a carving? (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44358483)

"Yes, you would. The difference hear is that 3D printing opens up a whole market for these devices where only a few people can or willing to carve stuff out of wood. Those that do are low enough to fly under the radar sort of speak. So it's not an issue now."

That is not a valid comparison. You aren't manually squirting plastic out of a tube and shaping it, either.

It is much more like making a part with a CNC machine.

See my comment further up about what laws cover what. This general issue has already been tackled by the courts (a long time ago, actually), and it is pretty well settled.

No... (3, Interesting)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about a year ago | (#44358107)

What's copyrighted is the idea, not the physical manifestation or "input". If you take a downloaded copy of HotSummerBlockbuster 3.0 and burn it to a DVD, that DVD is still covered by copyright. Similarly, you couldn't download a copyrighted song, have vinyl plates cut from it, press records, and sell those. It is the creative work itself that is covered by copyright.

Re:No... (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#44358167)

Copyright law also allows the copyright holder to force destruction/removal of any physical manifestation of that work.

A text article is copyrighted, and if a publisher is willfully infringing on that copyright, the copyright holder can force the publisher to remove any books that contain that work, at the cost of the publisher.

Same rules apply for 3-D printed objects. The design is copyrighted, and any manifestation of that is a copy of that design.

Re:No... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44358631)

Copyright law also allows the copyright holder to force destruction/removal of any physical manifestation of that work.

Within some limits, though. I wouldn't like to be dispatched from this world only because I'm able to reproduce the "Happy birthday" song at any time (Warner says it's copyrighted until 2030 [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:No... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44358823)

So someone that prints a book with Beethoven's 5th in it can copyright the book. And from that point on, can destroy anyone that plays it, every CD with Beethoven's 5th on it? None of that sounds right. Are you sure you haven't been licking the frogs again?

Re:No... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358201)

What's copyrighted is the idea, not the physical manifestation or "input". If you take a downloaded copy of HotSummerBlockbuster 3.0 and burn it to a DVD, that DVD is still covered by copyright. Similarly, you couldn't download a copyrighted song, have vinyl plates cut from it, press records, and sell those. It is the creative work itself that is covered by copyright.

"What's copyrighted is the idea" ... except ideas are not copyrightable?

Re:No... (1)

caballew (2725281) | about a year ago | (#44358283)

"What's copyrighted is the idea" ... except ideas are not copyrightable?

I thought the legal theory was that you couldn't patent an idea but you could copyright the expression of the idea?

Re:No... (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44358341)

Ideas without implementation are not patentable. But they are certainly copyrightable - like books, for example, or music. Or Mickey Mouse; what is it other than an idea of a certain kind of an anthropomorphic rodent? They don't exist, and they never existed (as far as I know.)

Re:No... (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44358563)

Or Mickey Mouse; what is it other than an idea of a certain kind of an anthropomorphic rodent?

That's just it... the idea is not protected. Only their creative expression.

You are free to make as many anthropomorphic rodents as you like, as long as you do not copy theirs.

It is best if you can prove you never had access to any Mickey mouse material, especially in the years you were working on yours, to avoid frivolous accusations of non-literal copying; which essentially means copying the work, but rephrasing it or tweaking the copy to make the copy appear to be different..

Re:No... (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44358773)

That's just it... the idea is not protected. Only their creative expression.

What is that "creative expression" that you are talking about? Is it a specific cardboard cutout? No, it's a specific idea that contains a well defined image of a certain rodent. An opposite of such specific idea would be a generic idea of a rodent without any such identifying characteristics.

So Mickey Mouse is an idea, and the owner controls every physical or virtual implementation of that idea. There are other ideas about animals, and sometimes other people have rights on those - but Disney has their Mickey Mouse idea.

Re:No... (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44358487)

What's copyrighted is the idea, not the physical manifestation or "input".

No... you cannot copyright an idea. What gets copyrighted is the creative expression, once you have fixed it in a tangible form.

Copyright does not restrict the use of the tangible form. It restricts the rights of other people to make copies of that creative expression on their own tangible form, and prepare derivative works, or redistribute.

The digital files created by a designer would most certainly involve some creative expression and be subject to some copyright.

The mechanical objects that you can print, would not necessarily be copyrightable.

For example: if the 3D object is a gear, then the function dictates the form, and therefore, it is non-copyrightable.

Even if the digital file was copyrightable; once you have printed it, you have a non-copyrightable object.

Re:No... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44358609)

What's copyrighted is the idea, not the physical manifestation or "input".

Incorrect. What you copyright is the form of an expression.
If the ideas would be copyrightable, we as a society would be in a very big trouble (given that ideas are 5 cents a dozen, the implementation it what matters).

Take as an example the "API is not copyrightable" ruling in "Oracle vs Google over Java API" and try to work out what would be the impact if "it's the idea that matters".
Take "social networking" as another example: would you be happy to socialize on MySpace instead of being able to choose what SN you use?
Heck, take the "email in the cloud" idea: would you like to be limited to pick only between "@hotmail.com" email addresses?

What you are somehow right: the protected form of expression is not the same as consumption format. When considering however the "derived works" issue, I don't know how much good or bad arises from this distinction ("Happy birthday" is still copyrighted even when pressed in vinyl, burned on CD/DVD or sung/played at a birthday party by a bunch of friends)

I have an idea... (0)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about a year ago | (#44358117)

How about lets just decide to not tell people what they can and can't print with their 3-d printers?

Apart from public hazard kind of items, at least.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#44358179)

How about lets just decide to not tell people what they can and can't print with their 3-d printers?

Why? If I design something, I don't want you to print that without paying me.

Don't want to pay me? Don't print it.

I don't make my designs to benefit you. I make my designs to benefit me.

Re:I have an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358249)

So, let's make 3D printers illegal?

No, just don't use them to steal. "on a computer" (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44358385)

It's often said around here that adding "on a computer" to an old invention doesn't make it a new invention.
Same with stealing. If someone earns their living designing things and selling those designs, you shouldn't steal them. Stealing on a computer is still stealing.

Re:No, just don't use them to steal. "on a compute (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358839)

Stealing something is taking it away from the previous owner. Copy is by definition not theft.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358373)

Someone will probably make a free (beer and speech) version anyway when 3d printers basically take over the world

Re:I have an idea... (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44358583)

Why? If I design something, I don't want you to print that without paying me.

This is the equivalent to the argument; "Here, I'll let you see all my recipes, and you can even save my cookbook to your computer."

But don't you dare think about making blueberry muffins and having a bake sale; I will demand a cut from every muffin you bake using my design!

Smells like derivative works (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year ago | (#44358119)

Derivative works, and delicious plastic nanoparticles.

Re:Smells like derivative works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358329)

Derivative works is the first thing I thought of. Printing and selling copyright images is still infringement.

It would seem to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358125)

That if I print out a 3D version of Cloud Strife's sword from FF VII that it would still be Square's (now SquareEnix) protected design.

Creative Commons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358129)

If I upload Mr. Nahmias shit to a file host that displays ads, is the file host using it for commercial purposes? If I have a revenue sharing agreement with the host, might I be sued?

For the record, I think that this "noncommercial" clause is shit (see Stallman's argument against that) if it's going to be interpreted like this. How can you seriously call this license free? It's not as if they are selling the designs and making a profit themselves.

Re:Creative Commons (1)

tibman (623933) | about a year ago | (#44358683)

It's free for you to use. It's not free for your company to use. See the difference?

"IP law" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358131)

Which one? There are a plethora of irrelated laws that fall under that umbrella.

Brain dead analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358139)

Precedent seems to imply that the resulting object cannot be controlled (e.g. the output of a GPLed program is not GPLed, so why should executing a program on a 3D printer be any different?).

The arrangement and artistry of the software is what is protected. The output of the software is not the software, so no problem. Identical copies of the software would be infringing no matter how they were put together.

The arrangement artistry of the object is what's protected. Doesn't matter how the object was fabricated, identical copies are infringing.

Duh.

Re:Brain dead analysis (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#44358433)

Creating a work which is identical to another copyrighted work is only infringing if you copied the latter to get the former. If it's just a coincidence, or due to outside constraints such as efficiency, it's not infringing. Of course the more complex the work is, the harder it'll be in practice to convince a court that it wasn't copying, but careful record keeping can help. Is the IBM bios identical in any part to the compatible BIOSes first written by Columbia, Eagle, and Compaq? I don't know, but if so, their careful methodology to prove independent creation protected them.

Once again... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#44358143)

The legal system sits firmly a decade behind technology.

.
Maybe the discussion needs to be whether or not technology advancement needs to be slowed down in order for civilasation to keep up with the changes......

Re:Once again... (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#44358721)

What I think is that society (which I think is what you mean by civilization) and its rickety legal system can go fuck itself it it can't keep up. Human creativity and innovation are not going to halt because it can't keep up. Society couldn't enforce it. It would be evil and people who love freedom and love creating things would fight it and they would win.

WTF? (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44358149)

Precedent seems to imply that the resulting object cannot be controlled

So the input to the projector at the movie theatre is copyrighted, but the output projected on screen isn't?
Therefore it should be legal for me to record it on my cellphone and post it on youtube. or post 15 second bits recorded on a cellphone to instragram [theage.com.au]

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358337)

It's not transformative. You basically end up with the same thing, just bigger. In this case, it's like the plans for a building. The architect doesn't "own" the resulting building, just the plans. Now, whether the internal copies required to use those plans to make a building count . . . that could be a different matter.

Depends on who you ask (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44358159)

IP law distinguishes between purely decorative and useful objects, but how should the digital files that provide a design for those objects be treated?"

Corporations: Treat possession of them as major criminal activity. Outlaw them. Nuke it from orbit, only way to be sure.

Academics: We should probably make a fair use exception, so anyone can do it for personal use, or if its a parody work... you know, non-commercial.

Slashdotters: Screw profits! Digital blue prints want to be freeeeeeeee!

Richard Stallman: We should join our hands together and sing songs, using copyright against them! By creating free alternatives to commercial products without restriction, we can build a stronger community.

Me: Until it can print a cat, the internet won't care.

Re:Depends on who you ask (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358185)

You're an idiot. Give me back the fucking time I wasted on your piece of shit post.

Re:Depends on who you ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358281)

wot

Re:Depends on who you ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358365)

Print a cat? Why not just put a male and female cat together in the same room? Trust me, they'll fucking make more.

Re:Depends on who you ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358389)

Why should a 3D printer be able to bypass protections that a 2D printer or DVD-burner cannot?

Re:Depends on who you ask (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44358455)

Why should a 3D printer be able to bypass protections that a 2D printer or DVD-burner cannot?

Better question: Why should we add such protections to a 3D printer? And if we do decide to, how would we go about doing such a thing, since we can't even get a watermark in a picture to survive 30 seconds with Photoshop? Shall we install NSA black boxes? Perhaps a shotgun that randomly fires whenever someone presses the print button? How about an internet connected device that requires a retinal scan, anal probe, and blood samples?

We can't even manage to come up with effective copy protection for things that don't even have dimensions... I don't see how you're going to impliment it with a device that accepts arbitrary inputs and converts it into a 3D object. Even our most sophisticated artificial intelligence can't really tell the difference between a banana and a penis better than about 98% of the time based just on dimensions.

Re:Depends on who you ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358597)

I wouldn't be surprised if an ACTA-like treaty appeared to add DRM stacks to 3D printers. Send something that looks like the 3D gun that is available, the printer would then lock up, and send all details to some upstream source. Or, only allow signed objects to be printed, so if one wants to make something, they would have to send it to a third party to have it examined before it can be printed on any printer.

I wouldn't be surprised if 3D printers started having some technology like the yellow dots in 2D color printers to track where something was made, and this become the law of the land by knee-jerk lawmaking.

1st waza (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358165)

waza!

Knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, sewing,quilting (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358171)

Surely this has already been covered by existing laws about patterns, etc?

Just wait.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about a year ago | (#44358237)

When the patent trolls begin crapping all over 3d printing it will be only the behemoths and shell "intellectual property" companies who control it..like every f*cking thing else of any scale.


/end grumpy rant

Just like printing a document using GPL fonts (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about a year ago | (#44358243)

I submitted a post to Slashdot back in 2005 about whether printing a document using a GPL-licensed font would make the resulting document GPL.

This sounds like a similar issue.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/05/04/17/2118203/unintended-consequences-of-using-gpl-fonts [slashdot.org]

The general concensus from the previous discussion appeared to be that (a) the GPL wasn't intended to be used for fonts, and using it that way is a bad idea, and (b) the resulting document would probably not be GPL. Of course, nobody is is a position to make any definite pronouncements about it since this issue has never come up in a courtroom, as far as I know.

Re:Just like printing a document using GPL fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358393)

But what if you use a proprietary font to print a hard copy of your open source code?

Re:Just like printing a document using GPL fonts (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#44358399)

In the US, the answer is no. Typefaces are not copyrightable. A computer program that can be used to output a typeface can be copyrightable. So something like a PostScript font file could be protected, but the letter shapes it outputs cannot be, and if you traced the output to make a new font file, you'd be in the clear. The name may be trademarked, however, so be prepared to change it. And specific typefaces may be eligible for design patents, which can be infringed on no matter how copied, so watch out for that. Here's the case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Systems,_Inc._v._Southern_Software,_Inc [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Just like printing a document using GPL fonts (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about a year ago | (#44358431)

You kind of missed the point.

Assume that I create a PDF file with an embedded font that happens to be GPL-licensed. Is my document now subject to the GPL since it incorporates the GPL-licensed font?

Re:Just like printing a document using GPL fonts (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#44358559)

That's less clear. But before, you said you printed the document. The GPLed font file is a program that outputs a public domain typeface. All that's present in the hard copy is the public domain typeface. Since no action occurred for which the GPL would be triggered (using the font to output the typeface doesn't copy the font), why would the GPL apply to the hard copy? On what would it hang its hat?

"physical objects"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358259)

Hardly. They make shapes. There is a difference.

GPL IS A DISEASE, LIKE ALCOHOLISM !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358275)

Treat it with due empathy !!

Copyright Drama? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358279)

The problem: It's been using objects designed by popular designer Asher Nahmias, whose creations are licensed under a noncommercial Creative Commons license — and he says Stratasys's use violates the licensing terms.

That's not drama, it's common sense.

Look, I don't care who you are. If you're going to sell a product, don't steal someone's work to show off your product. That's just stupid arrogant wrong. Stratasys could have found hundreds, if not thousands of alternative designs to print off at their booths that don't infringe on someone's copyright. Or you know, they could man up and make their own designs from scratch, or pay the designer for the designs. It's not like they're in the 3D printer manufacturer business or anything. Oh wait, they are!

If your 'product' is making 3D printed objects, then you don't get a free pass on deciding when it's OK to just print what ever you want. Customers can do that, the manufacturers can't.

You wouldn't download a car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358299)

Oh, how the tables have turned.

1993: Modems sucked, so you couldn't download anything of value, but we still traded warez on BBS.
2003: MPAA/RIAA: "You wouldn't download a car!"
2013: Ok we take that back. You can, but you really shouldn't download and print out parts to make a car, because you'll be in copyright violation!
2023: You wouldn't download a new kidney!
2033: Ok we take that back...

Phrase "...with a 3D printer" confuses weak minds. (5, Insightful)

dbc (135354) | about a year ago | (#44358327)

OK,what about the phrase "... with a 3D printer" makes this hard for people to understand? Designers copyright and/or get design patents (which are different from functional (is that the right word?) patents) on their designs. They then license those designs as theys see fit. The licensee's manufacture them, and some of the artifacts end up at Target or Macy's. There is nothing about manufacturing with a 3D printer that changes the idea of a copyrighted/patented design that needs to be licensed in order to manufacture it.

Stratasys screwed up, pure and simple. They manufactured a design without a license. Perhaps they misunderstand CC licenses. Perhaps they are jerks.

In the end, there is nothing new here. Some designs have licenses. Some companies are run by people that are clueless and/or jerks.

The phrase "... with a 3D printer" is simply newshead velcro -- people use it to get a story published. Don't let those people weaken your mind.

Re:Phrase "...with a 3D printer" confuses weak min (1)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44358421)

Mod points, where are you? I need you!

Re:Phrase "...with a 3D printer" confuses weak min (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#44358627)

I'd have modded him and you too. His statement is spot on.

Not clear it is a CC license violation ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#44358827)

Perhaps they misunderstand CC licenses.

Maybe, maybe not. They were not selling the items. The items were on public display and there was no charge for viewing. The items were merely made by the printer they were selling. The CC license defines commercial use as "in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation." One could argue there is no commercial advantage since other 3D printers could create the same items, that the items merely familiarizes the viewer with what is possible with 3D printing in general. One could also argue that there is no monetary compensation for viewing the items and they are not being sold. I think there is ample room for misunderstanding the license, I'm just not sure which side is misunderstanding it.

Perhaps they are jerks.

Doubtful, they seem to be willing to keep things friendly. From the article: "Nahmais [IP owner] also posted an email exchange he said he had with Dan Yalon, executive vice president for business development and strategic marketing for Stratasys, in which Yalon says the company will be sure to ask for permission and give attribution in the future. In the email Yalon also agreed to donate a sum of money to a charity to make up for it, although Nahmias, via Twitter, said he's not sure if Stratasys has done so."

Flip side happens as well - DMCA takedowns (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44358333)

The reverse also happens - you can get DMCA takedowns on objects to print. And this happened years ago.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/04/the-next-napster-copyright-questions-as-3d-printing-comes-of-age/ [arstechnica.com]

What we're seeing is basically the same thing with software patents - immense twisting of IP laws to cope with stuff that really never occurred before.

After all, you used copyright for stuff you wrote, and that stuff you wrote was typically a book, a play, music, whatever, meant to be enjoyed by others. Or it could be an ancillary book like an instruction manual.

And patents usually applied to things that did stuff (not counting design patents) - utility patents. Machines that took something as input, ground through it, and produced something at the output.

But now you have written things that do machine things - software that is hardware (e.g., RTL). Software that replaces hardware (e.g., in machines where software replaces complex mechanical movements), software that creates hardware (3D printers). It's really never occurred before in the known history - we have created something revolutionary - software.

Hell, even in the old CNC days the CNC code was never an issue since they're usually customized for the machine and generated (either manually or through automation) from the basic CAD file.

We live in interesting times ,and really, IP laws need to be revised because we can't squeeze software as either a copyright or a patent thing - it just leads to the mess we're in now.

Re:Flip side happens as well - DMCA takedowns (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44358635)

I just fear that if IP laws get revised, they will be done in a way that is extremely hostile to the average person. Every time there is a revision of IP laws, it does nothing to help the average user out.

I would not be surprised if governments (be it European ones, the US, or others) forced all 3D printers to disallow printing of anything but signed files (where the files have to be approved by a third party to make sure they can't be used as lower receivers or anything the local politcos don't like), record and upload what people print, or require hardware-based DRM stacks on everything that interfaces with the printer (a la HDCP.)

Interesting times, and I would recommend to people to buy 3D printers now if they can, before the laws get passed regulating them... and they are not going to be regulated for the consumer's benefit...

Re:Flip side happens as well - DMCA takedowns (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44358751)

This is one of major obstacles to the transition from the current system to the future system of robotic factories and lazy consumers who don't need to work. (That is the utopian world of communism.)

The transition depends on factory owners - who invested money - to give up their property, including the IP. But what motive would they have to do that? Wouldn't they want to be owners of the world? Who will make them surrender their wealth? They are the government, for all practical reasons.

At Some Point (0)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44358351)

Copyright is probably going to be the only thing preventing everyone from printing their own Ferarri.

I expect to see a LOT of Ferraris on the road.

Output of a GPLed program (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about a year ago | (#44358381)

Precedent seems to imply that the resulting object cannot be controlled (e.g. the output of a GPLed program is not GPLed, so why should executing a program on a 3D printer be any different?)

What if the program is a quine [wikipedia.org] ?

Quality and Price (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | about a year ago | (#44358405)

I think this is only going to get worse as things improve. When all you can make are low quality, tiny objects, of 1 (maybe 2 or 3) colours then nobody really cares too much if you copy their designs as you can't do anything terribly useful with them. But as the price comes down meaning they become more widely accessible, and the quality and size of output improves I believe companies and individuals will quickly become very interested in lobbying for IP laws against these printers.

Not that I want those laws mind you but given the way they are behaving with things such as movies and music I think it's inevitable.

Mechanical designs cannot be copyrighted (0)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44358425)

They can only be patented.

Therefore; whatever the license terms that apply to the design files --- they do not apply to the physical object you can print using them.

In as much as the object itself is not copyrightable.

Re:Mechanical designs cannot be copyrighted (2)

tibman (623933) | about a year ago | (#44358707)

How can you print the object if you don't have permission to have a copy of the plans? Seems like copyrighted plans would prevent us from even having to argue about the resulting object.

Re:Mechanical designs cannot be copyrighted (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#44358749)

But architectural drawings, blueprints, plans, models, and images can be [wikipedia.org] . Do you see the parallel?

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (1)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44358441)

In Ye Old Days, instead of selling objects themselves, it was common for people to sell the designs of objects to blacksmiths, and make their money that way. This is surely just taking back the rules to the dawn of industrialisation.

PDFs are programs for printing 2D objects (5, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44358445)

A pdf file is a program, written in the postscript language, directing a 2D printer to create some 2D object. I can't print copies of someone's book and sell them without permission based on the argument that the book is the output of the PDF program.

I don't see how adding an extra D changes that. Some people, probably including Stallman, would say that authors (and programmers) SHOULD work for free, giving their stuff away. Maybe so. That doesn't mean they DO. This particular designer gave away his work to people who wanted to use it for non-commercial purposes. Good for him. He didn't give his work free to companies to use commercially. If you're going to make a living from my work, I get a cut, he decided. Fine, that's his decision.

Re:PDFs are programs for printing 2D objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358825)

Actually PDF doesn't include all of PostScript. They removed enough control flow to make it non-Turing complete.

Hogwash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358471)

Precedent seems to imply that the resulting object cannot be controlled (e.g. the output of a GPLed program is not GPLed, so why should executing a program on a 3D printer be any different?).

That's rubbish. If I write a program for producing content, the content is copyrighted as an original expression to the degree that it is an original expression. Its not automatically licensed if the producing program is, but it is copyrighted.

The question with "not automatically copyrighted" occurs with things like compilers, where the output of the compiler is a transformation of its input. In this case, the copyright state of the output hinges on the copyright of the corresponding input rather than the copyright of the compiler.

So of course, the relevant copyright of printed designs is that of the design, not of the printing software. There is no ambiguity whatsoever.

This is settled law, due to auto parts (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44358553)

This isn't a new area of law. It's been litigated thoroughly by the third-party auto parts industry, which routinely makes copies of auto parts. Some auto companies have applied for design patents on some body parts, but to get a design patent, there has to be a significant difference over any other existing object. There are maybe 400 auto part design patents a year, and design patents are only good for 14 years.

It's different for decorative objects. Those can be copyrighted. But functional parts, no.

Can a scan of a real-world object be copyrighted when the scanned object is not? Not in the US. See Meshwerks vs. Toyota. [uscourts.gov] A scan is not a creative work. It doesn't matter that it takes effort to create, and work to clean up. It's still not a creative work. The court followed the same line of reasoning as in Bridgeman vs. Corel, which established that photos of public domain 2D pictures cannot be copyrighted. (Despite much grumbling from the museum community, that decision has held up. Wikipedia relies on that. The National Portrait Gallery (UK) once threatened to sue Wikipedia. Wikipedia didn't back down. The National Portrait Gallery did.) That decision in turn relied on the famous Supreme Court case Feist vs. Rural Telephone, which established that phone books are not copyrightable as a constitutional matter. "The threshold for originality is low, but it exists". That's why everybody has phone book data, map data, and similar databases now.

Once consumer-grade 3D printers get good enough that they're used for something more than turning out plastic game pieces, this problem will decrease.

Re:This is settled law, due to auto parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358643)

I think there's a legal twist that makes this not quite settled law (and it's not the 3d printer): They're not using scans, they're using the original blueprints, and violating the terms attached to that. IE they're a commercial entity, using blueprints with a NC clause attached, to create objects for commercial gain.

The context of showing off at a trade show might even make the objects "decorative" since they're not going to be used as parts, just for show. But it may not even matter whether the objects are copyrightable, since they're using the original blueprints. Those are copyrightable, copyrighted, and have a clause attached stratasys may well be violating.

To me the fact that it's stratasys, with their penchant for telling their customers what they can and cannot do with their machinery, even taking back machines you thought you bought because they don't like the output you're creating with their machines, makes it a sort of poetic justice. If you're going to wag your finger at everybody, expect someone to wag their finger back at you.

A non-commercial license only goes so far (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358781)

The Law cannot be expected to deal with bizarre or paradoxical cases arises from people that insist on using weird licenses to protect their creations. What does "non-commercial" even mean? When the government goes after targets using laws with 'financial' constructs, it claims almost everything a Human might do has a financial value, even simply gaining a new friend.

How can simply printing out a design with no intent to directly sell the item be a 'commercial' use? Sure, the company 'gains' but so would anyone else using the design. I mean, if YOU used it, you would 'gain' from not having to pay for it. Does that money saving make your use 'commercial'?

It gets worse. Say the company gives away the objects it previously created for display. The person who receives the gift can hardly be prevented from selling it on.

Courts would have little sympathy with the clown that chose to use this license. It is not their job to unravel Gordian knots created by the complainant.

Surely the lesson learnt here is to insert a clause in FUTURE non-commercial licenses denying the rights to use the data set to create actual physical models. In the mean time, Nahmias should stop his childish whining - oh, i just noticed, he's one of those attention seeking perpetual victims form Israel- no wonder the owners of Slashdot are promoting this story. I guess it's time for Slashdot to roll out another Iran bashing story as the other side of this tedious propaganda ploy.

Copyright as art, i.e. like the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44358853)

The printed object itself may be unbound from copyright violation, but if the object is deemed art and the motion is considered the performance of said art, then will we inevitably end up with something like a Spotify for 3D printing?

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